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Benitez rues busy Chelsea schedule

The Chelsea boss may opt to rotate his squad from the side that clawed back an FA Cup replay at Old Trafford but will not be underestimating the caliber of Steaua Bucharest

Rafael Benitez is looking for his side to bounce back from its disappointing away defeat to Steaua Bucharest last week but admits Chelsea’s packed schedule is making team selection a tricky task.

Chelsea was narrowly edged out 1-0 in the first leg of its last-16 Europa League tie on Thursday and Benitez will look to utilize the home advantage to pip the Romanians to a quarterfinal berth at Stamford Bridge on Thursday evening.

But with progression will come more game time, and when stacked on top of the FA Cup replay clash with Manchester United on April 1, Benitez admits that an increasingly bloated schedule is providing him with a few headaches.

“I can do nothing about that so I must concentrate on my job and try to do my best preparing the team for every competition,” he told reporters.

“It is difficult. Some players like center backs and goalkeepers can play more games. Wingers, full backs, strikers, it is more difficult because of the intensity of their runs.

"It depends on the players. If you have a player who is fit and recovers quickly it is easier than someone who is older and needs more time. You have to analyze everything and decide what to do."

But ahead of the side’s crunch clash against Steaua, Benitez insists that he will field as strong a side as it takes to progress to the quarterfinals.

“The next game is the priority. I have to pick the team for the next game and ensure it's a very competitive team for each competition,” he added.

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